If you follow a strict keto diet, you know how hard it is to find an ideal snack that will support your low-carb diet. Most snacks you could buy at the supermarket contain too much sugar and fat. Fortunately, snack food is gaining popularity nowadays that is both delicious and nutritious, the South African dried, cured meat, biltong. It is a delicious salty snack packed in nutrients, low in calories and free of artificial preservatives.
What is Biltong?
Biltong is a snack food that comes in the form of dried, cured meat. It originated from South African countries where the curing process was widely used to preserve all kinds of meat before refrigeration. The main ingredients used to cure the meat are vinegar, salt, and spices. Vinegar is used to inhibit the growth of Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that causes botulism, while saltpetre, a common preservative, is used to kill the bacteria. The spices used, such as pepper, coriander and cloves, have antimicrobial properties.
The meat is usually prepared during the cold months because the colder temperature further inhibits bacterial and fungal growth. First, the sliced meat is soaked in a brine composed of vinegar, salt, pepper, coriander, and other spices. It is then hung to be air-dried slowly, which produces a safer and superior quality with a fuller texture.
What makes Biltong Keto-friendly?
Because the meat is soaked in a brine solution, you are ensured that it has zero sugar. The snack is also prepared using premium cuts of beef, making it a high protein, low fat, and healthy snack. Other than this, here are ten more surprising benefits you probably didn’t know about biltong that make it the perfect in-between-meal keto snack.
High in Protein
A small piece of about an ounce of this snack contains 16 grams of protein. That is already 30% of your recommended daily allowance for protein, and protein is essential to build muscles that help burn fat. It is also a great snack that keeps your energy up.
Controls your Cravings
This keto-friendly snack is great for snacking in ketosis because the dehydrated beef expands in your stomach, making you feel full for long periods. Because it is made with zero sugar, there is also no chance of ingesting sugar in ketosis.
Low in Fats
This snack is made from premium cuts of beef, a staple in a keto diet because it has less fat than other cuts of beef. It has zero carbohydrates and is rich in vitamins and minerals.
High in B vitamins
Apart from being a good source of protein and having zero carbohydrates, beef is also rich in Vitamin B 12. Vitamin B 12 is essential for the production of healthy blood and nerve cells. The air-drying process also ensures that heat-sensitive vitamins don’t get destroyed.
High in Iron
One hundred grams of meat usually contains about 1.2mg of iron. Iron is an essential oxygen-carrying mineral that treats anemia, improves cognitive function, and is needed for energy production. Exercise is an integral part of the keto lifestyle, and lack of iron may cause fatigue and trouble breathing during exercise.
Rich in Potassium
Potassium is an essential nutrient that is needed by the body. It acts to regulate your blood pressure and ensures bone health. It also helps lower your blood sugar levels by providing that your body produces the right amount of insulin which helps break down ingested sugar and carbohydrates.
No Artificial Preservatives
Traditionally, this snack is made using saltpetre to extend its shelf life and kill Clostridium botulinum, a deadly bacteria that is the causative agent of botulism. Nowadays, it is no longer used, and shelf life is extended through its packaging. In addition, the environment where it is prepared is also controlled, eliminating the use of additional preservatives, making it a natural and safe snack to be enjoyed by those on a keto diet.
If you are on a keto diet, you know how important it is that the food you consume is anti-inflammatory. Some of the spices used when curing this snack, such as pepper, coriander and cloves, are anti-inflammatory, making it a safe snack to munch on while on ketosis.
One of the guidelines for a keto diet is that your meat should be grass-fed because they contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, and antioxidants. Nowadays, most of these snacks that you can buy from the supermarket are made from high-quality grass-fed beef.
The most important element in a ketogenic diet is that it should be sugar-free, and this snack is made with zero sugar. The main ingredients in preparing it are meat, vinegar, salt, and spices such as pepper, coriander, and cloves. And since beef, the most common meat used in preparing this snack, has zero carbohydrates, you are ensured that there is no sugar, making it the perfect keto snack.
The surge in popularity of this South African snack is due to its nutritional value compared to other common snacks. Because it is high in protein and has zero sugar, it is now seen as a perfect snack fit for various diets, including the keto diet.
Author’s bio – Ester Adams is a farmer of words in the field of creativity. She is an experienced independent content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry. She is a multi-niche content chef who loves cooking new things.